S2E13 - How Functional Medicine can Play a Role in the Fertility Journey w/ Bertha

Episode 13 December 13, 2023 00:49:28
S2E13 - How Functional Medicine can Play a Role in the Fertility Journey w/ Bertha
Start to Finish Motherhood with Aisha
S2E13 - How Functional Medicine can Play a Role in the Fertility Journey w/ Bertha

Dec 13 2023 | 00:49:28

/

Hosted By

Aisha Jenkins

Show Notes

In this engaging podcast episode, Bertha, a Single Mother by Choice and functional medicine practitioner, shared her inspiring journey to motherhood and the intersection of functional medicine with fertility, menopause, and overall health. Bertha emphasized the importance of addressing root causes in functional medicine, offering valuable insights into optimizing the body for fertility and the impact of stress on well-being. The conversation expanded to preventative care, encapsulated in the NEWSTART principles, covering nutrition, exercise, water intake, sunlight exposure, temperance, air, rest, and trust. Bertha highlighted the therapeutic benefits of gardening and the importance of sunscreen in skincare. This episode seamlessly weaves personal narrative, expert insights, and practical tips, providing a holistic exploration of Bertha's journey and the vital role of functional medicine in well-being.

 

To find out more about Bertha's Functional Medicine Practice visit: 

Holistic Doctors I Aesthetics Services I Specialty Labs (optimalhealing4u.com)

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:04] Speaker A: Welcome to Start to Finish Motherhood, a. [00:00:06] Speaker B: Podcast for those thinking or already single. [00:00:09] Speaker A: Mothers by Choice just looking for practical. [00:00:11] Speaker B: Advice for navigating life's relationships. [00:00:14] Speaker A: When you decide to have children on your own, it doesn't mean that you're completely alone. I'm Aisha Jenkins, and I'm partnering with. [00:00:22] Speaker B: You every step of your journey. [00:00:25] Speaker C: Hi, everybody. [00:00:26] Speaker B: I'm excited to have a guest with me today. She's a single mother by choice, and I've had the pleasure of getting to know her through my SMC channels. I loved hearing about her single mother by choice journey. I was inspired by her weight loss journey, but what really caught my attention was her work with functional medicine. Now, I don't know a lot about functional medicine myself, but I have had some personal experience with alopecia, gestational, diabetes, and just things that I know could have used the help of a functional medicine practitioner. As I was going through it, one of my sisters had an issue with alopecia and her thyroid as well, and she's worked periodically with functional medicine practitioners. And so I am peripherally familiar with it. So when I dug into it a little bit more, I had a light bulb moment, because as you go through your fertility and infertility journey, you realize that there's a partnering that needs to happen with mind, body and spirit, but also with different aspects of your healthcare team. And there are some gaps that exist that can't be explained and some tweaks that need to happen with your diet and your body's chemistry in general that could really benefit from being partnered with and working in conjunction with a functional medicine practitioner. And so I was excited to get Bertha on my podcast to talk us through the role that functional medicine can play in lifestyle, in your fertility, and infertility journey, and to hear how it played a role in her story. I'm here today with Bertha, who's a functional medicine practitioner, and they focus on getting to the root cause of what is causing their health problems. So today she'll be sharing her knowledge and her insight on how functional medicine can help with fertility, menopause, and then an overall healthy lifestyle. So, Bertha, welcome to the show. Tell us a little bit about your single mother by choice journey and then high level overview of your work as a functional medicine practitioner. [00:02:38] Speaker C: So my Single mom by choice journey began when I heard a high school friend of mine on doing a podcast talking about why she decided to be a single mom by choice. I'd never heard the term before, believe it or not, but it resonated with me, and I just started researching it. And as I began to research it, I was like, this is what I want to do, because waiting for the guy, waiting for the person, the one to have a child with, I was like, what's the one thing in life that I'm going to regret the most? And for me, it wasn't that I would never be married because I've never been married, right? And I long to be married. It wasn't that when I really dabbed deep into it, it was not having my baby girl. That would have been what I would have regretted most in life. I do have a son, and that was a single mom by circumstance. So when I decided to do this, he was 19 years old, 1920, and so they are 20 years apart. But I got my baby girl and I started researching it, going into forums, going into groups. That's how I ended up in the group with you and just literally reading other people's stories, just researching that. And then you talk to people and all of a sudden people are like, oh, yes, this. And I met my very, very good friend who is a nurse practitioner midwife. I told her, I said, this is what I want to do. She's like, well, you want me to introduce you to my cousin? Like they did this? And I said, yeah, sure. And that's how it started. I started talking to her cousin and they ended up telling me what they did, who they used. So it was a known donor in the sense that it was a person that I actually met. I didn't know him or anything like that, but I was able to meet him in person. I wanted to see if the vibes were there. Did my spirit take to him, just hearing him? And this is what he does. He helps other people that are unable to have children, have children. And so I met with him two times, and then I decided, I'm like, I really feel good. I feel like this is the one. This is the one in that aspect. Right. And honestly, I did the syringe method and I got pregnant the first time. No problem. Yeah, it was absolutely incredible. It was really incredible. But also what's nice about it is that my friend's cousin, their son, we're letting them know that they're siblings. We're not keeping that from them. So we go to birthday parties, we hang out, play dates, things like that. So she has him, but she also has my son, and then there's a Facebook group with his donor children. Yeah. So it's a very fascinating world, and I feel very empowered to be in it. That's a little bit about that. And then the second question that you asked me was the high level of what I do. Yes. So I'm a nurse practitioner. When I graduated, I knew that I didn't want to practice traditional or conventional medicine. It didn't sit well with me. And that was because I had a moment when I was doing my clinical rotation. My preceptor was like, Bertha, this is a great case study for you. It was the person that was coming in for his annual older gentleman. And we went into the room and I saw him, and he didn't look good. He looked not good. And she was like, this is a great case for you because he had so many prescription medications, he actually had 14. So she said, this would be a really good practice for you when it comes to prescriptions. I literally sat. Like, I stood in the corner of one of the empty rooms, and I was like, this cannot be my life. This is not why I'm going to school. This makes no sense to me. I'm not going to school to learn how to write script. I mentioned that to some colleagues of mine or some friends of mine, and one person said, you should look into functional medicine. That was the first time I'd ever heard that term. And I looked into it while I was in school doing my Master's, and it once again resonated with me. And I said, yes, this is what I want to do. This makes sense. And so when I graduated, I was lucky, blessed, that I began to do functional medicine right away. Started working with a doctor. That that's what he did. And so that began my functional medicine journey. Then I had to go back to school to learn functional medicine. Pretty much unwire my brain from what traditional school taught me and just relearn a lot of things, unlearn some things and relearn some new things on how the body actually works. And this was where I really began to understand just the body as a whole and the different connected pieces and the puzzle piece and how things work. And I was like, wow, no one ever explained this to me in school like that. No one ever connected the dots that this is how this works. And that's what that did. So I began my schooling journey, got my certification in it, kept practicing in it, kept studying in it's. A continual lifelong journey for me in terms of studying. But that's pretty much how I began that I got my own practice right before the pandemic hit was a blessing in disguise. I got laid off from my job in January 2020 because I went to talk to the owner that I just wasn't feeling fulfilled. We had spoke about me doing more functional medicine, and he was not really giving me that opportunity. And I promised myself that that was the last place I would ever work and then I would start my own. I didn't know I was going to come that quick, though. I was like, okay, God, I don't know what you're saying here, because I promised myself I was not going to look for another place. I was like, okay, I guess it's time for me to start really delve and start my own thing now. So spoke to my mom. My mom was like, you got this. Just do it. Whatever you need, I'll help you out. Don't worry about your bills. Just focus on this make this work. So for two months, I kind of just laid out my plan, right? Worked out what I was going to do, what I needed to buy, how I was going to start, what services I would start out with. That was January. February, march. I launched, and there goes the Pandemic. But it was a blessing in disguise, because I was really able to get the funding that I needed to start my business, but as well as just get out there and make some money during the Pandemic, that helped me to basically get money for my business. And then I went to my location, March of 2021, where I practiced aesthetics and functional medicine. So aesthetics married me. It chose me. I was always running away from it. But it tends to go together with functional medicine. People that want to optimize the inside of their body usually want the outside of their body to also just look great. And so aesthetics just kind of really went with it, and now I love both of it. So functional medicine is my passion. It's what I started with, and then aesthetics got added on. [00:09:44] Speaker B: Thank you for that intro and giving us that high level overview of how traditional medicine plays with functional medicine. And so first I want to say the reason that this platform exists, the reason why I created Melanated Single Mothers by Choice is because those stories need. [00:10:01] Speaker C: To be out there. [00:10:02] Speaker B: People are all around us living their lives and living that diversity that we say we believe in. But to actually take the time to see it, and then you're just like, okay, that could be me. That could be my path. But we don't always know it because some paths are not always visible, right? So there's that. And then when you said when God said, Move, you go. You put 1ft in front of the other, right? And that's walking out on faith where you don't exactly know where your steps are going, but you know your steps are ordered. And then the unlearning. I think I have spent as much time unlearning as I have spent learning, right? When you have kids, you first have to teach your kids those rules, right? This is what you have to do to be a human in society. And then when they reach a certain age, you teach them which rules matter and which rules don't. When to stray away from the rules and when to do something different, when to think outside of the box. And I haven't reached that age just yet where I'm laying the foundation. Currently, I've got a four year old and an eight year old, and it's like, okay, here are the rules. And my daughter will say, But, Mommy, why are you doing something different? And it's like, because there's a time and place when you don't have to follow the rules, and you know that certain rules don't apply. So I do definitely appreciate going through your medical school education and getting all of that foundation. So that one, it's there. Now, going back and looking back and saying, these are the things that I know really matter. Do no harm, keep them alive, right? But then there are other things that work together that are both explained and unexplained in this health industry. And the marrying of the two is where you hit that sweet spot, right? And so I think that you've got it in aces. So let's go ahead and let's dive in from a high level overview. Let's talk about it from the infertility perspective and how the body just kind of works together. So there are certain things that are disproportionate in the black community and in particular for women. So when I was pregnant, I was in the forums, and you're hearing people who are trying to get pregnant with PCOS. You hear a lot about fibroids, you hear a lot about premature ovarian failure. You hear about an ovulation, obesity, inflammation, endometriosis. So we hear about all these different conditions. Some of them will impact us, some of them won't. What role does functional medicine play in getting an understanding of these conditions and possibly help me to correct these conditions so that we can go on to have children and IVF and things like that? [00:12:49] Speaker C: So functional medicine high level looks to find the root cause of the issue and optimize your body, meaning that whatever imbalances may be going on within the body from a cellular level, we want to work on all of those parts right there, all of the different interconnected parts fix those things. And here's the beautiful part about our bodies is that when we create the correct environment for it, when we feed it what it needs to be fed, when we move it the way that it needs to be moved, when we breathe air for it that is fresh and beautiful when we stay away or we make sure we decrease our stress levels and we have that work life balance and all of those things that are involved. Like health is a whole lot more than just physical. The body thrives, and it does what it's supposed to do. But when you're toxic, when you're inflamed, when you're overworked, when you're overstressed, when you're overburdening your organs, the body is not going to thrive. I mean, can we thrive in environments like that? We can't. So what is our internal cells doing? They're not thriving. So the body doesn't feel like it can carry a baby. It's like, oh, no, if I put a baby in this body right now, that's a terrible environment to bring a baby into. It's not going to thrive. The baby won't grow. It's not a survivable area. [00:14:23] Speaker B: So it's kind of like if you're in a toxic workplace, you won't thrive until you remove yourself from that toxic workplace, in that toxic environment. So as you're trying to get pregnant and you're going through all these different treatments, it's suboptimal, right? Some people are lucky to get pregnant. Some people are just now going to be subject to whatever conditions are currently existing in their bodies. Can you talk a little bit more about stress? [00:14:49] Speaker C: Right? [00:14:50] Speaker B: Because a lot of us, when we come to the single mother by choice journey, we encounter stress along the way. The entire process could be stressful, but then you've got some external stressors that are existing because of family and the different conversations you need to have. Can you talk a little bit about the role that stress plays on the body? [00:15:10] Speaker C: Absolutely. So when we talk about stress levels, the way that I like to explain it to my patients is that I want you to think like a saber toothed tiger is right in front of you. That saber toothed tiger is going to eat you and kill you unless you run for your life. And it's absolutely okay for you to run for your life. Your body is naturally going to do that because it knows that danger. And so what happens to the body is that the sympathetic nervous system takes over. And the sympathetic nervous system is the one where our pupils dilate, our heart rate goes up, we run, move faster, adrenaline is released. Our Cortisol levels are elevated because our body needs to be more powerful. I know people have heard about stories where people have moved cars and lifted them with no problem, right, because they were at that level of, like, their Cortisol levels, and their adrenaline was just so high that they had that mighty power in them. And so that's absolutely okay. Your body is designed that way that when there is danger, that it's going to move and save you. And so in the sympathetic nervous system, our GI system, our reproductive system is not functioning. Not that it stops functioning. It's that it completely slows down. Because when you're running for your life, you don't have time to use the bathroom. You don't have time to pee, you don't have time to poop. You don't have time to do any of those things. So that system is really, really slowed down. The other parts of the body now are more heightened. But here's the thing that happens with us because we are constantly living in stress. Our bodies don't know the difference between a saber toothed tiger being in front of me or somebody just cut me off in traffic, and it just raised my levels all the way up. So that petty stress that I like to tell people about, that's petty. And you're making your body react right now. Your amygdala is, like, alarming because it feels like it's in danger, and it's constantly like that. So when that body constantly stays in that sympathetic nervous system, your parasympathetic nervous system, which is the healing part of your body, which is where we can make a baby where we can go to the bathroom, the body slows down to allow for these different things to happen. You're in the sympathetic nervous system on a constant basis that you're not giving your body the ability to regenerate or heal. You're not even sleeping properly. Sleeping all these things is when we regenerate ourselves, when it needs time to relax. [00:17:55] Speaker B: So I'd like that there are two systems that are at play. You're sympathetic and you're parasympathetic. And when your sympathetic nervous system is constantly activated, then that doesn't give time for the parasympathetic to activate and to give you that space that you need to rest, relax, and heal the body. So with that foundation being laid, what are some modifications or some things that a person can do? Preferility treatments to get the body ready to go through what it's about to go through to create eggs. [00:18:33] Speaker C: So this was something like what I did. So I knew that I wanted to have another child. And I was like, I can't let 40 come and me not have a baby or get pregnant. And so before I even heard the single mom by choice about, I want to say maybe a year and a half, two years before that, I was like, I want to prepare my body for this. And so what I did was I got with a health coach that I trusted, and we did some testing. I did some blood work. I did some hormone blood work testing. I did this test called the Dutch test, which is dried urine testing for comprehensive hormone. And it really gives an in depth look into your full entire hormone systems to see which parts of it are maybe too high, too low, out of whack, whatever are your stress levels, cortisol, all of that. And it looks at it through urine as well as through saliva, which for me are the best ways to look at it, as opposed to just serum, which is what the traditional world looks at. And so I did that test first and came back with a lot of answers, right? Like, I wasn't really ovulating properly. I was really stressed out. My cortisol levels were off. My response to stress was off. It was a lot of things. And so we began to work on these things. What were some things to eat for my fertility? Like, basically the estrogen dominance that I had eating cruciferous vegetables. And so we came up with a plan. What nutrition to eat, black seed, different things that could help me to optimize my hormones and get them balanced the way that I needed to get them balanced. I was also working with therapist, working on my past trauma, because I was like, I don't want to bring a child into this world and not be healed myself. This is my do over child. And my son hates when I say that, but I tell him it doesn't mean that I didn't want you. It just means that I've learned so much from raising you that I want to give her what I've learned. And so that was another thing, was I didn't want my past trauma to deal with her. I really wanted her to come into a world that was just flourishing. And because I'd learned so much on my functional medicine journey, this was super important to me. So I was healing myself. And you said it at the beginning, mind, body, spirit. I was working on all aspects of that. What I needed to do physically, what I needed to do spiritually, what I needed to do mentally, working on meditation, working on resources. Stress happens. We live in a very stressful world. I needed tools to be able to manage my stress so that I was not always in a sympathetic nervous state. I wanted to work on my skin. My acne was ridiculous at that point. And I know that that's stress. My face gets cleared up when I'm stressed out. So all of those things were things that I was working on. So what I say is, you want to work on optimizing your body. There are certain blood works out there that depending on what you come with. Are you coming in with PCOS? Are you coming in with are you overweight? There's different things that we can do. There's food sensitivity testings that can be done. So there's different types of blood work. There's different things that can be done. But you want to basically find what is the root cause of what's going on with you. Let's optimize that, work through that so that you can create an environment where your body will be fertile and it will be able to actually carry a baby to full term. [00:22:05] Speaker B: Okay, so now thank you for that. My second question is now, how could a patient partner with both a reproductive endocrinologist and a functional medicine practitioner? [00:22:19] Speaker C: Ideally, so I know that you can find functional medicine practitioners online. I know IFM Institute for Functional Medicine has a directory of professional practitioners in different specialties. And then you also have SAfm School of Applied Functional Medicine. They also have their own directory. Like, I went to school with them. But there's different organizations out there, different functional medicine schools that have their list of directories to find people. Most times, a lot of those people that practice in functional medicine know how to find those that are functioning medicine trained. So there may be a reproductive endocrinologist that's functioning medicine trained out there. However, let's say that you can't find one within your area. What I would suggest is we're advocates of our bodies. We're advocates of things that we believe. And as functional medicine practitioners, one of the things that we really do is we know that inherently, our patients know what's wrong with them. If they hone in on it and ask the correct questions, they can really dig deep and know like, yeah, I struggle with this and this happens. And you get the answers from a good history. And so I would definitely find someone that listens to you, someone that hears you, someone that is willing to actually delve deeper than just, here's the protocol that I do with all 500 people that I've worked with in the past. We're all individuals. And functional medicine treats each person as an individual. They're each unique. They're each different. What affects one person's fertility is not the same. That affects someone else's. And that's what functional medicine does for an individual that is looking to heal any concern or problem that they may have. [00:24:27] Speaker B: I love that because as I was going through my fertility journey and I hit secondary infertility age, I kept trying to tell the doctors, look here, look here, look here. And they're like, no, we've done it on thousands of patients. This is what will work. We're going to try this and then we'll see what we get. And it's just like when you are going through this alone and in a lot of cases when you're self financing, it is not just let me try this thing that I've tried with 1000 patients and then if that doesn't work, we'll try this other thing. When you're like jumping up and you're saying I'm the patient. It's my body. I know what could be going on. So definitely, even from a general health advocacy perspective, looking for doctors, medical practitioners, ever that are going to sit down and listen to you and take that time. And so thank you for reiterating that. [00:25:23] Speaker C: Because sometimes I think that we forget. [00:25:25] Speaker B: And we give up, want to listen. Okay, so you mentioned the two resources that you can use. The first ideal option would be to look for a functional medical practitioner who is also a reproductive endocrinologist. And then it's kind of baked into the system. And then the second is if you can't find one, work with the reproductive endocrinologist and then partner with a functional medical practitioner. Okay, so I love that. So kind of going on this journey with us into parenthood. So you go through the experience of getting pregnant. So now you're pregnant. One of the things that I wanted to hit on this season is the role that preventative care, preventative health can play in the life of a single mother by choice. So what are some of the things that we can do as parents to prepare for a longer life so that we can be here for these kids? Like you mentioned, different things you can do with your diet, right? If you know that this thing is going on with your body? Well, correcting that and getting to the root of that can serve two purposes. It serves to, one, heal your body, but it also serves as a preventative measure in terms of overall health so that we can be here longer for these kids, right? [00:26:44] Speaker C: So I'm actually going to use this acronym called New Start. And so new start. The N stands for nutrition. So when I talk about nutrition with my patients and whatnot I know, people hear the term you are what you eat, but it's actually you are what your body absorbs, meaning that even if you're eating good food, if your body is not absorbing the macro and microgreens from that food, then it's like a waste. And so that's really important, and that can come from just, do you have digestive issues? Are the detoxification pathways working in your body? Meaning and what are those simple detoxification pathways? Sweating. Right? So are we moving urinating? Are we drinking enough water, having bowel movements daily? Because we got to excrete the waste out of our product. So if we know that that's working, we're chewing our foods, not cutting and swallowing, then we can actually ensure that, okay, we're going to get the macron nitronutrients from what we eat. Now, what we eat needs to be more whole foods, and that's for everybody, right? So it's eating the rainbow, all of the different colors, right? Having a diverse diet in place is going to be the best thing. A lot of us eat the same thing over and over every single day. That creates food sensitivity because your body is eating it so much every single day that it's just going to create a sensitivity to it, and it's just not going to work anymore. If we're listening to our bodies, we can also know when we eat something that we're not supposed to eat. And most times we know what we're not supposed to eat because we'll either end up with diarrhea or we'll end up with, like if you have any types of symptoms of acne or indigestion or you belch a lot or you pass gas or any of those things that are gut related. GI related. What you're eating is not agreeing with your digestive system. So you want to eat more whole foods, things that are the perimeter of the supermarket, not things that are packaged. A potato should look like a potato on your plate. So if it looks like a chip, it means it's been processed a whole lot to look like that chip. And so you want to eat things that are more whole foods in all aspects of it and just a variety of colors. The E stands for exercise. We got to move, right? Our bodies, the cells oxygenate better. And so when you're oxygenated oxygenating the blood in the cells because of that movement and getting oxygen into those cells, things are going to operate much better. So that's the e w is water. We don't drink enough water, meaning that our cells are dehydrated. And so we should really be drinking water to the point where our P or our urine is very clear. It shouldn't be yellow. And then the S stands for sunlight, getting natural sunlight. And. That doesn't mean go out in tan. What that means is get sun exposure. But you still want to protect yourself, right? So wearing shades, wearing a hat, the T stands for temperance. And so temperance means moderation in all things. If you're going to drink alcohol or whatever, you want to be moderate, you don't want to overdo things. You don't want to go crazy. We're going to live still. So you can have your sweets, you can have those things. But moderation, practice moderation, that A stands for air. We don't get out enough, like in South Florida, I can tell you that. We cater to the heat. And so in the home, we're in the AC. We go to our car, we're in the AC. If we go to our workplace or wherever we're going to shop, it's AC. Many times people are not even just outside getting fresh air. And so you got to get fresh air. You got to get outside. I mean, just that restorative. Yoga, that restorative. Meditation, restorative. Fresh air actually helps with our cortisol levels, and it helps us sleep better. The R is for rest. I grew up Seven day Adventist. I don't practice it now, but I still do believe in the concept of rest. And so we work six days and we rest on the 7th day, which is a Sabbath. And so they did a study called the Blue Zone Studies, and they looked to see where did people live over 100 years for the longest. And in California, there's an area where they found and it was predominantly Seven Day Adventists, loma Linda. And they saw that they lived over a hundred years. And one of the reasons why is because they practiced the Sabbath. So what I tell people is that you need a day to relax. You need a day to wind down. We need to rest your cell regenerates during that time. And then teeth stands for trust. What I tell people is find someone that you can trust in whether it's a medical professional, a therapist, a counselor, a pastor, just someone that you really can trust and have someone that you can talk to, like vulnerable. That's important to be able to let that out. So I say if you practice those eight laws of health is what we call it, or eight principles, it really can give you a longer life, and it helps to optimize your body and keep it healthy. [00:32:03] Speaker B: New start. Okay, I'm going to remember that. So quick question. In terms of water, can it be. [00:32:09] Speaker C: Water that has plain water? Coconut water is also good because it has electrolytes in it. But when you start adding this crystallite powder or you start adding these other different things, you're taking away from what your body actually needs, which is the water. [00:32:26] Speaker B: Okay, so moving along this journey where we're walking this path of life are now outside of childbearing years. So I'm 47, and so now I am kind of teetering on perimenopause pre menopause, and I probably have had a few hot flashes in my life. So what can I do from a functional medicine perspective, a body balancing perspective, to prepare for menopause, because that's a natural cycle in life. What can I do to prepare my body? What can I do to level out the sometimes negative effects of it? [00:33:06] Speaker C: So definitely for that, it would be like eating cruciferous, vegetables, things that help to naturally metabolize excess estrogen and also just get rid of the bad estrogen, but raise the good estrogen. You want to. Black seed is good. One to two teaspoons a day helps with estrogen dominance. You basically want to make sure you keep your hormones in harmony. So another important factor is the things that people put on their skin. A lot of people don't realize that our skin is the largest organ, right? It's the largest organ. They don't realize it's an organ, but it is. It's the largest organ that we have. And whatever you put on your skin, lotion, perfume, whatever that is, it's going to go into your bloodstream. Now, the products that you put on your skin, make sure that there are products that are not endocrine disruptors. And this is where a lot of black women get dinged. When I explain this to them, it's a very hard concept for them to understand. When I say that Victoria's Secret, or that Bath and bodywork spray, or that perfume collection that you have, or those body washes that you're wearing. So the individual product is not harmful in terms of the carcinogenic that are in there, it's not going to cause you cancer. But the accumulation of the amount of products that you put on your skin on a daily basis times 40 years, 20 years, 30 years, that's where that stuff happens. So you hear of people, they're like, that person never even smoke. They didn't do this, they didn't do that. And I'm like, but did they hold a grudge? Were they angry? What products did they use on their skin? There's so much more to cancer infertility than just cigarette smoke. There's these products that are endocrine disruptors. I mean, what is that product that they use on the grass or for fertilizer? Oh, my goodness. [00:35:15] Speaker B: Insecticides. [00:35:16] Speaker C: It's a type of pesticide that they use on the outside. [00:35:19] Speaker B: I cannot remember the not Miracle bro. [00:35:23] Speaker C: No. But it is such a terrible endocrine disruptor. It is awful. And so even stuff like that, having your hands touch it, being around it, the chemicals that then you also use to clean your house, a lot of them have endocrine disruptors. So let me explain what I mean when I say endocrine disruptors. All that means in real simple layman terms is that when that product gets into your bloodstream, your body doesn't know that it's not estrogen or it's not that. And so it's an estrogen mimicker. It's acting like estrogen and so the body is taking it as estrogen, and it treats it as estrogen, and so that creates an estrogen dominance on your body. And then once one hormone begins to get disrupted, it's a domino effect. I like to tell people hormones are like caddy. Women, when one of them starts, they all start. Every single last one of them are like, if you're not doing what you're supposed to, I don't have to do what I'm supposed to. And it's just a domino effect. [00:36:28] Speaker B: I love that. I had a friend who was back in the days would explain to me their pattern of laying on the different scents to get the scent that they want. They start with the lotion. Then they put a little bit of this perfume here, and then they layer with this other perfume. And I'm just like, oh, okay. At that point, I was just like, oh, okay. [00:36:51] Speaker C: That's how you do that, right? [00:36:53] Speaker B: But now when you said that the first time that we talked, I'm just like, oh. So now I went and pulled out all the natural things that I've been given, and I'm just like, I'm going to start using this stuff. And so I use it on the kids. Like, I've got some goat milk, like lotion, and some shea butters, and I'm just like, rubbing it to get it to melt. I was like, yeah, this stuff is good. This stuff is healing. And so it really did change my approach to the products that I buy, the products that I put on kids. And if they can go free without products, I try to let them do that more often than not. So why do you get bit in my bugs? [00:37:32] Speaker C: But, okay, it's just that these perfumes, these aditolets, and these body washes and all of these things, they contain a lot of carcinogenic agents out of them. And so you don't want to put that on your skin. It's just like how we treat babies when they're little. We're about what we put on their skin. We're like, what's the best thing that I could buy for the baby skin? And this. Then all of a sudden, I don't know what happens. We kind of just lose it because. [00:37:57] Speaker B: We get so disconnected from the baby stage. We're so happy and so joyous and celebratory on that sometimes. That's my approach to eating, because the kids, they've got simple palates. They're not going to eat necessarily what you eat. And so instead of trying to get them to eat what I eat, because we do tend to give our kids baby little ones the best foods and whole foods, right? So I ended up switching for long stretches to what the kids eat, like the whole fruits, the yogurt. So that's one of the things that I've done. And then I have a garden. So you talked about cruciferous vegetables. Can you define what that is? And then if someone were to create something like a patio garden or a small backyard garden. What are some essentials that you'd want to have in your garden? [00:38:50] Speaker C: Yeah, so cruciferous vegetables are those that look like trees. So like, broccoli, cauliflower. Those are two that I can think off the top of my head that basically are estrogen. They really help to metabolize good and bad estrogen. As far as gardening goes, honestly, whatever you can grow, because like I said, the rainbow. If you can do peppers, you can do spinach, you can do kale, you can do tomatoes, you can do, like, whatever it is that you can get growing, it's always going to be beneficial. But also the benefits of gardening. Gardening has been almost listed as like a hit workout, which is high intensity interval training. And so just the overall effects of being outside, getting your sunlight, getting your air, remember that new start, right? But you're also touching soil. So your skin, your body is touching that soil. And a lot of our magnesium and stuff like that is in the soil. It's in the ground. So just the therapeutic effects of that, the therapeutic effects of your cortisol levels being down, because it's so therapeutic, it's healing. And this is why I believe also, like, our grandmothers and all of them, they lived so long, or they were just healthier because they were outside more than we were. They were there with the natural plants, the natural herbs. Herbs are also good for your garden. Like, all the different herbs that you can put on there, the teas that you can grow, mint tea, different things like that, ceracy, all of these things are very healing. If we can go back to just that natural from the ground up, those things are very healing. [00:40:33] Speaker B: Yeah, I definitely second that. Being in the garden, being outdoors, the kids picking their herbs for their pizza or what have you. And just like you said, it is an activity, a physical activity. I'll come in, I'm sweating and I'm sticky and I'm dirty, but I'm feeling really good about just having been out there and communing with nature and the bees. All right, thank you. And continuing on this journey. And so kind of going full circle to what you said at the beginning. Oftentimes when our body feels good and we're feeling good on the inside, we want our outside to look just as good. And that doesn't end when you hit 50. What are some of the things so you said you married both functional medicine with aesthetics, and so how does that come together? So tell us a little bit about the things that we could do and the role that your clinic plays. [00:41:34] Speaker C: Yeah, so I know we have this saying, black don't crack, but, baby, it does, and it creases. Okay. Now, what I will say is our collagen building abilities are much better than our white counterparts. We have better skin. The melanin in our skin is what gives us that glow and that beauty. So we have it, but we need to protect it. And what I find is we don't wear sunscreen. As basic as that is, we don't wear sunscreen, wear sunscreen every day. There's one thing, one skincare product that you need to put on your skin. It's sunscreen, as basic as that is. So there's an app that I tell my patients about, and it's called the Healthy Living App. Yeah. Healthy living app. And on there, you can basically look for what products for skincare, for cosmetics, for food, for cleaning, for any of those things that have the least amount of carcinogenic agents. And it'll give you a score. I think it goes up to like eight. So you want things that are like one, two and three or something like that. You don't want it moderate, you don't want it high, but it gives you actually, it goes up to ten. I'm looking at it now. So you want anything between one and two. That's the lowest hazard of products that you want to utilize. And so when you're looking for sunscreen, when you're looking for whatever it is, because you're now getting to the point where you're cleaning out your arsenal of products, that's a good place to start in terms of, okay, which ones do I go with? At least you can scan it and it'll come up and it'll tell you. But yeah, sunscreen, vitamin C and a retinol. That's the antiaging secret right there. Vitamin C loves our skin, and retinol is going to keep the wrinkles away and give us firmer, plumpier skin than that. Now, I like to suggest injectables like Botox when you're in your early 30s, because what we actually found is that Botox can be used as a preventative measure. Instead of waiting for the wrinkle to be there and then utilize it, if you do it before it forms, it acts as a preventative measure. And you don't get a high dosage as you would like if the wrinkles were already there. [00:43:46] Speaker B: So, yes, Botox kind of builds, accumulates. [00:43:50] Speaker C: Or no, it doesn't. What it does is it prevents the wrinkle from ever forming, but you'll stay at that low dose, but you're looking to get it every three to five months is how that works. That's about the life. Eventually you're not going to need as much but fillers PDO threads. Those are things that come a little bit later when our face begins to SAG, because obviously there's gravity, it works against us. And so our skin, we lose fat pads, we lose elasticity, we lose collagen. So all of these different things are things that we lose as we age. And the technology in aesthetics is phenomenal, things that they can do from a non surgical standpoint. But having a good skincare regimen, that is what I find is really the long term secret, and I would say more so using medical grade skincare, especially when it comes to a vitamin C or retinol, those type of things. I wouldn't trust it to CVS or Walgreens or Walmart or any of those, because those products are going to have additives and fillers and other things inside of it that make it cheap. That's what makes it cheap, right, is that they add those other things to kind of fill it. But you really want to be getting that true vitamin C. It needs to smell like an orange. It doesn't need to smell like chemicals. And so I would say, really invest. I tell people, I'm like, this is your face we're talking about. You're putting this on your face. You want to invest in it. I wouldn't throw garbage on my face. And that's the same thing I say about the food. This is your body we're talking about. You don't want to throw garbage inside of it. So with that, I will say use very good quality oil. Okay? [00:45:36] Speaker B: So for my own vanity laser hair removal, what should a black woman be looking for when they're trying to get this service? And there's a variety of different places that do it. What should I be looking for? [00:45:51] Speaker C: Nd. YAG laser or a DIOG laser? N like Nancy d like David YAG. Y-A-G-N-D YAG 1064 and then a diode. D-I-O-D-E. That's what's safe for our skin types. Those are the lasers that are made for us. You also want to go to somebody that can show you before and after pictures of someone that looks like you, has the same color of you, and you also want to go to somebody that in aesthetics. We have black women, so look for a black woman. How about that? Because we're going to know what works with our skin versus going to somebody that is white. And I'm not saying they cannot take care of you, but what I'm saying is let's give our black women some business. We know this field. Black women are definitely getting lasers. They're getting fillers, they're getting Botox, they're getting injectables. They are getting the works now because they're finally getting into this world. So they're out there. They're out there. [00:46:49] Speaker B: All right, Bertha, remind me again, what are the indices that someone can use to find a professional functional medicine practitioner in their area? We mentioned one for if you're looking for a fertility doctor, a reproductive endocrinologist that works within the framework of functional medicine, or looking for someone to partner with you and your fertility doctor. [00:47:13] Speaker C: Sure. So Google and you can honestly just type in functional medicine practitioner near me. That's one aspect. But you can also go to, like, IFM Institute for Functional Medicine or Institute of Functional Medicine. They have a directory practitioners that have graduated from their school. There's also SAfm School of Applied Functional Medicine. They also have a directory of people that have gone through their schooling and graduated and gotten certified. There's also FMU functional Medicine University. So these are just some different aspects. You can also do AA, like Apple, the number four, and the letter M, which is anti aging medicine. So those are some different keywords or things that you can search for when you're looking for somebody like that. Okay. All right. [00:48:06] Speaker B: And last but not least, where can my listeners find you? [00:48:10] Speaker C: I'm located in South Florida, specifically in Oakland Park. That's where my practice is located. I also do a lot of virtual work, and so my website is Optimal Healing, the number fourtheletter. So optimalhealingforyou.com. And on there, you can find all the different services that I do and how you can get in contact with me if you want to work with me. [00:48:35] Speaker B: All right, well, thank you, Bertha, for joining me. I really, really appreciate all of the wealth of information that you've given me. And, yeah, stay away from those products. Black can potentially crack, so sunscreen and all of that stuff. But until next time. Bye, y'all. [00:48:58] Speaker A: Thanks for listening. To start to finish motherhood with Aisha. If you want to keep the conversation going, follow Start to Finish Motherhood on Instagram or email me at [email protected] mom. If you love this episode, please share it with anyone who's thinking of becoming a single mother by choice, anyone who's already parenting as a single mother by choice and just looking for advice on navigating it all, or a friend or family member who's looking to support someone else's single mother by choice journey. Until next time, bye now.

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